While hospitals are making more money from people who recently signed up for health insurance under Obamacare, insurance companies might be losing money, according to one analyst.
An analysis from the Wall Street Journal shows that many hospitals are seeing more patients now than this time a year ago, after more than 8 million Americans signed up for insurance through a health exchange and millions more enrolled in Medicaid programs.
Kosali Simon, health policy analyst and professor at IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, says that cost is shifting to insurers, likely because many of the newly insured have needed care for some time.
“A lot of people started with new coverage in January that already are using services for which you thought the high deductible would have held them off a little longer,” Simon says. “But evidently, these are people who knew they needed health care and may have delayed it until they received insurance.”
The Wall Street Journal’s report also says insurance companies are seeing unexpected expenses from these patients, mostly because they are going to hospitals for services rather than clinics or doctor’s offices.
Though the increased hospital visits could cause insurance companies to raise their rates, Simon says that won’t happen immediately.
“We don’t think it will all play out by the next open enrollment in the fall, because those prices have to be submitted before the claims information from the first year are known.”